Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Apple bets on startup to more cleanly produce aluminum

Apple has invested in Elysis a joint venture of Alcoa and Rio Tinto.                  Apple Apple has invested in Elysis a joint venture of Alcoa and Rio Tinto. Apple
Russell Knight | 11 May, 2018, 02:57

To help expand this new process, David Tom, Maziar Brumand and Sean Camacho from Apple business development helped bring Rio Tinto to the conversation, and together with Alcoa, both aluminum companies formed a new joint venture called Elysis.

A photo of some Elysis aluminum Apple If it's effectively commercialized, it would represent one of the biggest changes to the aluminum production process since Alcoa founder Charles Hall started experimenting with small-batch smelting at his parents' house in Oberlin, Ohio in the 1880s. Along with swapping carbon for oxygen as a byproduct of the production process, the technology is also expected to reduce costs by 15-percent.

The JV also plans to invest $C40 million in the USA to support the supply chain for the proprietary anode and cathode materials. The provincial government of Quebec will have a 3.5% equity stake in the joint venture, with the remainder split equally between Alcoa and Rio Tinto.

If the development can lower the price of aluminum for automakers, it's possible they'd expand the use of it besides what's already been projected for the collision fix industry.

"It builds on the key role aluminium has to play in driving human progress, by making products infinitely recyclable, stronger, lighter and more fuel efficient", Jacques said. Former Rio Tinto head of technology, research and development, and automation programs Vincent Christ will become the CEO of Elysis.

"The technology is a tremendous innovation for the aluminum industry with the potential to make our products even more sustainable", Beck said. "We are proud to be part of this ambitious new project". When it works, the new process eliminates greenhouse gas emissions from the process.

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The automotive steel industry has been criticizing vehicles lightweighted with automotive aluminum as technically worse for the environment than steel cars.

The development announced Thursday seems as though it'd help aluminum keep aluminum in the running as a substrate if lawmakers followed the steel industry's advice and regulated the long game.

Aluminum is one of the most commonly used materials in Apple products, and also one of the company's largest remaining sources of toxic emissions - a result of the metal smelting process. "That represents an amount roughly equal to taking almost 1.8 million light-duty vehicles off the road".

"Today's announcement will create and maintain thousands of jobs for Canadians, significantly reduce Canada's carbon footprint, and further strengthen the aluminum industry in North America".

Mining giant Rio Tinto has teamed up with Alcoa, the world's sixth largest producer of aluminium, to launch a new joint venture to scale up the deployment of the new process, which the firms claim replaces all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process.

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